In the Gothenburg year cohort of 1953 1% of the men and 0.2% of the women were registered for chronic drug abuse through 1979. An early début and a polydrug abuse with emphasis on intravenous abuse of central stimulants but not opiates were found. Compared with matched individuals who were unregistered for drug abuse, chronic drug abusers had a large over-consumption of psychiatric and social care. Their registered criminality was higher, they were more often sick-listed and had lower incomes than the controls. The prevalence and overall impairment of chronic abusers are similar to those of schizophrenics.